On 11 January 2015, my family suffered a great tragedy when my step-father passed away from a fatal sudden heart-attack in the company of my mother and her family at their favourite Sunday afternoon hangout spot. The great consolation for me was that his moment of passing was in the company of those who held him dear in their hearts.
He was only in my life for just under 5 years after marrying my mother in the month of July in 2010, not long after I set foot on British soil. And during those few short years that he was with us, he made certain to ensure all of us were made to feel loved equally without judgement.
I’m slightly surprised (or maybe I shouldn’t be) that writing this short introduction piece to the simple poem I wrote would still bring up such raw feelings of loss. As I write this, a song plays in the background. A song written and sung by my Lou Dao (a cantonese term, meaning Father, which we settled on because me and my wife felt that ‘stepfather’ was too ‘cold’ a term and we wanted to show that we had truly treated him as our father) about his own desire to be closer with God.
This write up has probably been delayed by at least a week now as I’ve been wanting to get my thoughts and feelings down ever since the tragic news reached me and my family in London. After rushing back to Malaysia to see through the wake, the funeral, and the scattering of the ashes, I now find myself in a new kind of normal. It’s tempting to continue living in ignorance but the stark reality is that nothing is normal anymore. There is a new living environment which I will have to adjust to.
Before I go on any further though, here’s the poem I wrote during the evening of the last wake session:
Poem: A farewell to Lou Dao
The stars shine bright tonight,
Though we’ve just lost a shining light.
A man of principle, in word and deed,
A man who moves mountains when we need.
Sorely missed he is from far and near,
And though we now shed many a tear,
For a man, a husband, a father, and grandfather most dear,
We shall meet again, some day, some year
(C) 2015 Johnathan Sia
I suppose the raw feelings I feel right now are due to the ‘realness’ of it all. As I write this out, I’m forced to confront the fact that the house would be that little bit quieter. That my mother has lost a great love of her life – one who obviously gave her great joy and who obviously loved and doted over her. The dogs lost a loving owner and trainer. My mother’s brother’s and sisters lost a loving in-law. And me and my sister’s families have lost a loving Lou Dao.
The sudden nature of the parting is probably what hurts most and I’m very glad we took every effort to get to know and be close to our Lou Dao despite the relatively short period of time we got to know him for.
Have to take a break here to recompose myself. I’ll like work on writing out another part to this as a follow up of sorts.